Defense fuels Pats to season-opening victory


 Rebekah Gordon 

LINCOLN CITY — Heritage Hills coach Kim Brown told her players after Tuesday’s wire-to-wire 56-19 win at home against Northeast Dubois to maintain a level preparedness and mindset. Brown said no high is too high, and no low is too low.

The Patriots (1-0) got after the Jeeps (0-1) with their man-to-man defense by trapping, pressuring and forcing 13 first-half turnovers. It was the fourth straight season Heritage Hills prevailed against Northeast Dubois, and Brown credited her defense with being aggressive and dictating the tone of the game from start to finish.

The ninth-year coach thinks there is stuff to work on for today’s practice, though. She praised the defense, but said the offense wasn’t smooth by any means. Brown is looking for better ball movement and more patience in looking for the inside-out in Thursday’s game at Crawford County.

“When you run into a team that packs it in more than Dubois did tonight, we’re going to have to be able to move the ball more smoothly,” Brown said.

The Patriots have never faced the Wolfpack in Brown’s tenure as coach. She said the reason for that is because Princeton dropped Heritage Hills from its schedule, but the two teams will square off next season when the Tigers join the Pocket Athletic Conference. Therefore, Brown isn’t sure if Heritage Hills and Crawford County will play after this season. The Wolfpack has posted four straight seasons with a record of .500 or better, and went 22-4 last season.

Brown said the Wolfpack is always competitive when the Patriots play them in the summer. She said Thursday’s game will make Heritage Hills stronger because Crawford County is notorious for being a physical, pressing team. Brown wants to see how the Patriots will stay composed, and added they won’t change their game plan.

“We’re going to be as physical on defense as we can without getting in foul trouble, of course,” she said.

Northeast Dubois coach Andy Chinn said the quality of team that Heritage Hills is was one of the reasons it lost in emphatic fashion on Tuesday, but added the Jeeps have a lot of stuff to clean up. He thought they made a lot of mistakes that cannot happen. Chinn said Northeast Dubois must do a better job taking care of the basketball.

The fourth-year coach said the Jeeps have no time to dwell on the loss, as there are 22 games left after the season opener.

Chinn did see some positives from Tuesday’s game. He thought junior Alexus Royer really hustled, and liked what he saw from his freshmen. Reagan Knies and Grace Lueken both contributed to the scoreboard. The Jeeps ran different defenses, and Chinn said he was pleased with how they played man-to-man defense against the Patriots.

Thursday marks Northeast Dubois’ home opener, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. against Paoli. The Jeeps fell short against the Rams, 43-36, last season. He is expecting the game to be more competitive with an opportunity to win.

Chinn said it will be great for them to play in front of their home fans for the first time this year.

“Our town does a great job of supporting these girls,” Chinn said. “We want to put a good product on the floor for them to come watch.”


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